What exactly is a violation of the new helmet rule, and what isn’t? We still don’t know with absolute certainty, but we’re getting closer. What sort of hit is actually going to result in a player being ejected from the game? We’re not quite there yet, either, but again, we are getting there, slowly but surely.
Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent recently took to Twitter to try to answer some questions about the nature of the rule and how it is going to take shape for the upcoming 2018 season, and the most interesting bit was when he talked specifically about what hits might result in ejections.
“If a player lowers his head to establish a linear body posture prior to making contact with the head, has an unobstructed path to his opponent, and could have avoided contact, he may be ejected”, he wrote in a Tweet.
A2) If a player lowers his head to establish a linear body posture prior to making contact with the head, has an unobstructed path to his opponent, and could have avoided contact, he may be ejected. All ejections are reviewable by central replay in GameDay Central. #TV23Chat pic.twitter.com/oslggHdSYS
— Troy Vincent (@TroyVincent23) May 18, 2018
The Tweet was also accompanied by two examples of plays from the previous season and beyond of players delivering hits that would not only be in violation of the new rule but would also result in that player being ejected if it were to happen this upcoming season.
The first was Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore, landing an unobstructed hit on Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews, a player that occurred in 2015. The other is more well-known, that being Danny Trevathan’s hit on Davante Adams last season. Trevathan received a suspension because of it.
Vincent also said in response to another question that the NFL reviewed over 40,000 from the 2017 season and only found three plays that would have resulted in an ejection. As I have previously written about, Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka’s hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was identified as one such hit to participants in the league’s safety summit held earlier this month.
Of course it would be nice to see the final, completed, official rule as it pertains to lowering the helmet. Troy Vincent’s Tweet is not necessarily the law of the land. But it does make sense, and it’s understandable given the examples that he provided what the league is looking at.
The question asked that prompted Vincent’s response to note that they only found three plays that would have resulted in an ejection last season was whether or not the league was looking into possibly expanding gameday rosters to accommodate for the increased possibility of ejections. I think other people had this concern as well, but from the sounds of it, it’s just not going to be anything like that.